Do you tow 4-down (behind motorhome)? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Do you tow 4-down (behind motorhome)?

Here's an interesting first question (okay it's interesting to me)...

I plan to tow a Forester behind my motorhome. The Forester has a safety feature that applies the brakes all the way if it thinks it is a panic stop.

I use a brake buddy (auxillary braking system) when towing behind the motorhome. Does anyone know if the brakes will be put on (by the safety feature) as in a panic stop if the brake buddy applies the brakes???

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 10:58 AM
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Huh. You made me check to see if it even could be towed off trailer. I had no idea (and I even read the manual). How do you unlock the steering wheel without draining the battery? Or do you just turn the key to ACC and turn off the accessories?

To answer your question, I wouldn't think the panic stop would be an issue unless you're towing the Foz with it idling.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 11:34 AM
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I think that its mentioned in the owners manual NOT to tow a Subaru even if all four wheels are on the ground.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Just for the record, it can be towed four down as long as it has the manual trans.

Occasionally in error, but never in doubt.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2009, 02:27 PM
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The Forester entered my radar screen, when looking to replace my DD civic and my toad--Jeep Cherokee. Specifically because it was one of the few new AWD/4WD vehicles that I could flat tow. ON edit--I own a M/T. Didn't buy a 2009 specifically because I couldn't get the XT with M/T.

I will tow behind my 34' motorhome, given the over 7:1 ratio of the vehicles weights I will not have braking on the Subie.

On the jeep I removed the steering column lock so that I didn't have to tow with the key in a position that would drain the battery. Another option is to disconnect that battery while towing.

Last edited by quickshoe; 04-21-2009 at 06:07 PM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckxt View Post
... I plan to tow a Forester behind my motorhome. The Forester has a safety feature that applies the brakes all the way if it thinks it is a panic stop. I use a brake buddy (auxillary braking system) when towing behind the motorhome. Does anyone know if the brakes will be put on (by the safety feature) as in a panic stop if the brake buddy applies the brakes???
Where did you see this panic stop feature? I have not heard of it.
The Brake Buddy works the Forester brakes using a little compressor and a deceleration sensor. The towed Forester is dead and any so panic stop feature is also dead.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Per the sales brochure (Page 24)... "Brake Assist, This safety feature closely monitors the pressure you apply to the brake pedal. If it detects a panic-braking situation, it helps you avoid collisions by applying maximum braking force more quickly."

Occasionally in error, but never in doubt.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by chuckxt View Post
Per the sales brochure (Page 24)... "Brake Assist, This safety feature closely monitors the pressure you apply to the brake pedal. If it detects a panic-braking situation, it helps you avoid collisions by applying maximum braking force more quickly."
This must be a new feature for 2009. My 2008 brochure is only 20 pages and searching its PDF for "brake assist" shows nothing.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 04:44 PM
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I dont see anything in the owners manual that says that you can tow a forester behind a mobile home pages 9-15 9-16
Quote:
Towing with all wheels on the
ground
1. Check the transmission and differential
oil levels and add oil to bring it to the
upper level if necessary.
2. Release the parking brake and put the
transmission in neutral.
3. The ignition switch should be in the
“Acc” position while the vehicle is being
towed.
4. Take up slack in the towline slowly to
prevent damage to the vehicle.
. Do not run the engine while being
towed using this method. Transmission
damage could result if
the vehicle is towed with the
engine running.
. For vehicles with automatic
transmission, the traveling speed
must be limited to less than 20
mph (30 km/h) and the traveling
distance to less than 31 miles (50
km). For greater speeds and
distances, transport your vehicle
on a flat-bed truck.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-21-2009, 04:58 PM
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Found this too
Subaru Warranty, and Towing information page
Quote:
Towing a Subaru behind a motorhome or a tow-truck
The following is from Subaru "Helpline Update, 2/97"

There has been a change to the policy regarding towing of Subaru vehicles behind motorhomes. The following applies to 1990 through present model year Legacy (Including Outback), 1993 through present year Impreza (incl. Outback Sport), and 1992 through present year SVX. (Note: should also include 1998 through present year Forester. Joe)

The factory hitch is 1.25".
2" hitches can be installed aftermarket

Manual Transmission:
All Wheel Drive vehicles can be towed with all four wheels on the ground or with all four wheels off the ground on a trailer but towing an AWD vehicle must never be attempted with only two wheels on the ground or two wheels on a dolly.

STI, to tow: DCCD must be in manual mode, with the DCCD control dial set to the furthest rearward position (rolled toward rear seat).

Front Wheel Drive vehicles can be towed with all four wheels on the ground in neutral or with the two front wheels off the ground.

Automatic Transmission AWD vehicles cannot be towed with any wheels on the ground. The vehicle can only be towed on a trailer with all 4 wheels off the ground and the transmission in park.

Note: always inspect and check your car: radiator, coolant, all hoses, all fluids, brakes, towing equipment, lights etc
Looks like if you have a manual transmission you might be ok Id contact SOA to be sure

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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The following is the response that I received directly from SOA....

Thank you for visiting the Subaru Website and for your message.

We are happy to hear that you are interested in purchasing a new Forester!

AWD Subaru vehicles with manual transmission can be towed with all four wheels on the ground and the transmission in neutral. AWD Subaru vehicles with automatic transmission can only be towed with all four wheels OFF of the ground.

Therefore, since you are interested in towing a Subaru behind your motorhome, we would suggest purchasing a manual transmission Subaru.

When towing a manual transmission Subaru behind your motorhome, you would want the transmission in neutral and the key in the 'ACC' position. As all new models are equipped with digital odometers, mileage will not accumulate when being towed.

Thanks for the opportunity to be of assistance. If you need any future assistance, please feel free to contact us again.

Best wishes,

Kelly Shinault
Subaru of America, Inc.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chuckxt View Post
Per the sales brochure (Page 24)... "Brake Assist, This safety feature closely monitors the pressure you apply to the brake pedal. If it detects a panic-braking situation, it helps you avoid collisions by applying maximum braking force more quickly."
I am not sure if your forester has Brake Assist, but Brake Assist uses vacuum pressure supplied by the motor boost pressure applied to the Master Cylinder which increases the Braking force. This Brake Assist "Boost" is in addition to the normal Vacuum Assist for power Brake vehicles. It just ups the Vacuum in the emergency situation.

SO if the Motor is not running, there will be no Vacuum. (Well Technically there should be some residual vacuum for a minute after the engine is turned off OR 2-3 presses of the Brake Pedal, which ever comes first)

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-13-2009, 05:26 PM
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So, having surefed & searched, I found this thread which confirms that my manual transmission Forrestor can be towed with all four wheels down.

Next question: How to hitch it to the motorhome? What hitches do you folks use?

Also, I hadn't planned on brakes. I see above mixed opinions - some suggest the tow vehicles brakes are sufficient while others suggest trailer brakes - are there any guidelines?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-13-2009, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by wi-guy View Post
Next question: How to hitch it to the motorhome? What hitches do you folks use?

Also, I hadn't planned on brakes. I see above mixed opinions - some suggest the tow vehicles brakes are sufficient while others suggest trailer brakes - are there any guidelines?
Last question first - you might not *need* brakes, but you very likely *must have* brakes. It's a law in most states and canada that trailers (and a car counts as a trailer for this) over a certain weight must have a working tow brake system. In many cases the "certain weight" is 3000 lb or so, but may be as low as 1500 lb. I would definitely check state laws. Also the fact that it meets *your* state law dosn't mean you won't get hassled for it elsewhere. (I have heard stories of people caught towing sans brakes, being forced to unhitch on the spot and drive the car separately.)

See: Roadmaster Inc. - Tow Bars, Braking Systems & RV Accessories

Besides, the brakes do help and are usually a good idea. The problem I have with most brake-buddy-type actuators is that they work as "surge" brakes, i.e. not connected to the motorhome in any way, and will tend to activate (incorrectly) on bumps, downhills, etc. If you can find a brake system that actually connects to the motorhome's trailer brake controller, that would be much better, but I don't know of any right offhand. Lacking that, find a full proportional unit like the Roadmaster Even Brake.

In any case, don't go too high on the braking power adjustment or you will have a nicely warped set of rotors after each trip.

Now as to towbars. The finest ones I have ever used are the ones made by Roadmaster. Specifically, you want the "All Terrain" ones that have ball-type pivots and quick release auto-locking latches. These make hookup an absolute breeze, since you don't have to be either level or exactly lined up. You can get these in both car-mount or motorhome-mount styles. I use the latter. For either one, you need the matching base plate that fits the car, plus stuff like safety cables, which you can get in a handy kit.

(I know it must sound like I'm some kind of shill for Roadmaster, but I'm not. I just like and use their stuff. I'm not affiliated with them in any way.)

BTW this is good stuff and as such, it ain't cheap. By the time you get the tow bar, base plate, accessories, and braking controller, you may not have too much change left from $2000.

Oh yeah, one more thing. You should do what it takes so that when you are all hooked up, the tow bar is within 5 degrees of level. "What it takes" means using raise or drop hitches on the motorhome as needed. Do not tow with a tipped-down tow bar! Oh, and don't ever back up (more than a couple of feet) with the car attached.

Oh yeah #2 - you have to have some kind of working lights on the rear of the car while towing, meaning brake, turn, and running lights. You can use magnet-mount universal ones (easy to use and cheap), or go to the trouble of modifying the car's wiring to use the car's own lights (expensive, difficult, but cleaner and less prone to theft).

Hope this helps. Having a "toad" (nickname for towed vehicle) really enhances RVing.

Keith
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckxt View Post
The following is the response that I received directly from SOA....

Thank you for visiting the Subaru Website and for your message.

We are happy to hear that you are interested in purchasing a new Forester!

AWD Subaru vehicles with manual transmission can be towed with all four wheels on the ground and the transmission in neutral. AWD Subaru vehicles with automatic transmission can only be towed with all four wheels OFF of the ground.

Therefore, since you are interested in towing a Subaru behind your motorhome, we would suggest purchasing a manual transmission Subaru.

When towing a manual transmission Subaru behind your motorhome, you would want the transmission in neutral and the key in the 'ACC' position. As all new models are equipped with digital odometers, mileage will not accumulate when being towed.

Thanks for the opportunity to be of assistance. If you need any future assistance, please feel free to contact us again.

Best wishes,

Kelly Shinault
Subaru of America, Inc.
Bummer! I am planning on purchasing a 2010 2.5XT with an automatic transmission, and I was hoping to be able to occasionally flat tow it behind my Dodge 3500/camper combination as a toad, but based on this information, I see that this plan will be impossible.
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